I like to think I’m a seasoned birthday party host. My daughters, 13 and 11, are social butterflies and enjoy taking a hand in organizing their parties, planning months ahead. Even at a very young age, they insisted on creating customized loot bags for each guest.
Over the years, I have come up with a few rules:
- Number of kids invited = age you are turning – This has worked in theory, but sometimes younger siblings would be dropped at the door by parents eager to have an afternoon to themselves. Don’t they know this event is planned down to the number of tails for the donkey? When they were younger, instead of falling into the trap of inviting everyone in their class, I sent cupcakes to school. Stand firm.
- Homemade cake – Ever since the $40 Italian bakery cake slid off the handles of the stroller for my daughter’s 4th birthday (and none of the kids noticed or cared), we’ve gone with a mix. Guess what? It’s WAY cheaper.
- Get out of the house – After the 24-hour birthdaypalooza we hosted when my daughter turned eight (a camp-in instead of a camp-out that featured roasting marshmallows on the BBQ and covering our minivan the next morning with poster paints) we started turning birthday parties into field trips. Wall climbing, museums, movies, animation workshops – you name it, we’ve done it. Were my husband and I crazy to take 10 kids on public transit to downtown Toronto? Maybe, but we were done with slumber parties.
- Set a budget – We have always viewed the party as one of the birthday gifts, so we have a number in mind when it comes to per person spending. Do we ever go over it? Sure, but it helps to have an IDEA.
Published March 2010